We all know about the importance of consuming certain vitamins and macronutrients, but how much do you know about selenium? While this nutrient tends to go overlooked, it plays a vital role in maintaining and protecting your health.
So, here are four science-backed benefits of selenium, and why it’s worth boosting your daily intake:
Prevents Cell Damage
Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from damage caused by excess free radicals. While free radicals are natural by-products of body functions, too many of them can lead to oxidative stress which damages healthy cells.
Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defenses. If this oxidative stress worsens, it can increase the risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
By making sure that your diet is high in antioxidants, you can prevent oxidative stress by maintaining a healthy balance of free radicals. Certain studies also show that antioxidants can somewhat reverse cell damage caused by oxidative stress.
May Promote Heart Health
Recent studies have shown that selenium-rich diets may boost heart health and reduce the risk of suffering from heart disease. While this is partly attributed to selenium’s antioxidant powers, this mineral may also decrease internal inflammation markers – one of the main causes of poor heart health.
For example, a group of studies showed that participants with heart disease experienced a decrease in one main inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) after using selenium supplements.
Both inflammation and oxidative stress can also lead to atherosclerosis – a condition where plaque builds up in the arteries and increases the risk of heart attacks. As selenium works as both an antioxidant and can reduce inflammation, following a selenium-rich diet can reduce these risk factors.
Boosts Thyroid Health
Thyroid tissue contains the highest amount of selenium in the body. As a result, this mineral is essential for the optimal function of the thyroid gland.
Maintaining a healthy thyroid regulates your metabolism and controls growth and development hormones. When the thyroid is underactive, the risk of hypothyroidism increases and can lead to a major decline in general health.
Selenium deficiency has been directly linked to the risk of hypothyroidism.
One study found that taking selenium supplements decreased the risk of poor thyroid function and improved general wellbeing.
Improves The Immune System
Working as an antioxidant, selenium plays an important role in maintaining the health of the immune system. By lowering oxidative stress and preventing inflammation, selenium also contributes to improved immune function.
Research shows that increased levels of selenium enhance immunity, whereas a deficiency in selenium can weaken immune cell function.
These studies indicate that selenium is a vital component in maintaining the health of the immune system. The mineral may even improve the weakened immunity of those suffering from certain illnesses.
The Best Sources Of Selenium
Since many nutrient-rich foods are high in selenium, it doesn’t require an entire diet overhaul to boost your daily intake. One brazil nut can provide 174% of the daily value of selenium, whereas two large eggs may deliver 56% of the daily value.
Other selenium-rich foods include yellowfin tuna, sunflower seeds, and chicken.
However, it is important to note that the selenium content of these foods does vary on growing and living conditions. For example, some brazil nuts may offer a higher quantity of selenium than others depending on the type of soil in which they were grown.
So, it’s also a good idea to consider incorporating a daily multivitamin into your everyday routine. By using a premium multivitamin that contains selenium – such as Naked Multi – you can be confident that you’re fuelling your body with the nutrition it needs to function optimally.
Using a multivitamin also allows you to know exactly what you’re putting into your body so that you can keep on top of your dietary needs.